22 October 2009

The Leona Drive Project

I love it when a plan comes together. Even better when it results in something unique, creative, and thought provoking.

After noticing a series of houses in Willowdale (Toronto) were boarded up and slated for redevelopment (read: waiting to be torn down so new homes can go up in their place), a group of artists and PhD students, with the consent of the developer, have put together a contemporary art installation in five 1 1/2 story-bungalows on Leona Drive, in the Yonge and Sheppard area.

Taking over the houses and their yards, the artists have utilized a number of media, including photography, projection, sculpture, and performance. They also make use of found objects and even the run-down condition of the homes, for example, incorporating graffiti discovered in one house into the installation (see photo below--click to enlarge).

Number 9 Leona Drive is the only house visitors can actually enter, and it's well worth exploring.

Note that the "polka dots" on the walls in the next photo are painted pennies that were individually nailed into place by the artist.

There's also a fantastic installation in the basement (just watch your head), as well as in the kitchen (the artists were still hard at work when we visited, so we didn't make it upstairs). The Leona Drive project runs from 22 to 31 October, 2009 at numbers 9, 11, 15, 17, and 19 Leona Drive. An opening reception is being held from 7 to 11 pm on 23 October, with a special screening at 9 pm. Artists will be giving talks daily at 1 pm and 6 pm. For more information, click here.

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